Friday, April 18, 2014

Worry-Free Travel with SOS World Pass

SOS World Pass Great Wall of China

The fine folks at SOS World Pass gave me the SOS World Pass Bundle to test out for our recent trip to China.  While I thankfully did not have to use my SOS World Pass for any emergency situations, it was still reassuring to have it with me.  The Backup Passport, on the other hand, did get some use, and I would suggest getting the SOS World Pass Bundle for your next international trip.

The SOS World Pass Bundle is just a piece of paper.  But it is a unique piece of paper that does a number of things. 
  • The SOS World Pass contains a translated message in the language of the country you are visiting in case of an emergency.  The message states that you need help and asks for assistance contacting or finding the nearest US Embassy.  It also contains important phone numbers, including police, emergency medical, and the US Embassy.  It also provides your name, date of birth, medical conditions, drug allergies, and emergency contact information.
  • The Food Allergy Alert Card lists any food allergies translated into the language of the country visited.  Whether you have an allergy to milk, wheat, eggs, strawberries, or something else, the Food Allergy Alert Card will ensure you can easily communicate these concerns and avoid having an allergic reaction while abroad.
  • The Backup Passport allows you to leave your passport in the hotel safe to prevent it from being stolen or lost while still always having a copy on your person.  In China travelers are actually required to have their passports on them at all times.  However, all of our guides strongly advised us never to carry our passports with us, but to rather carry a copy.  I felt much more at ease carrying my Backup Passport. Also, there are some places like the National Museum of China which allow travelers to enter for free with a passport.  These places accepted my Backup Passport as proof of nationality with no issues whatsoever.

SOS World Pass Coaster
You might be wondering why you would want SOS World Pass to make a copy of your passport when you could easily make one at home.  The answer is because the SOS World Pass is printed on ultrathin, waterproof, tear-proof, synthetic paper which was originally designed for underwater field manuals for the US Navy SEALS.  I didn’t submerge my SOS World Pass underwater, but I did test its durability by trying to tear it and I even used it as a coaster for my beer, all with no effect.  Having these important documents printed on such durable paper ensures they are always readable, even if you get caught in the rain or spill your beverage.

Having an SOS World Pass Bundle provides peace of mind while traveling.  With SOS World Pass you will have emergency contact numbers and proof of identity close at hand as well as the ability to communicate any medical issues or food allergies when necessary.  To learn more about SOS World Pass and order the SOS World Pass Bundle for your travels, visit the SOS World Pass website.  SOS World Pass has also partnered with Travel the World to offer readers a 25% discount on all orders when using the promo code TravelTheWorld.
Blogger Tricks

Monday, April 14, 2014

Rovinj, Istria’s Tasty Jewel of the Adriatic Sea

Rovinj Istria Croatia Travel
Istria is Croatia’s northwestern peninsula, and the coastal region and cities of Istria were once part of the Venetian Republic.  The Venetian influence in Istria is very apparent, especially in colorful coastal towns like Rovinj.  Istria is also the foodie and wine capital of Croatia.  Properly exploring Istria takes a few days, and Rovinj, one of the most beautiful coastal towns I have seen outside of Italy, is the perfect base for exploring the Istrian peninsula.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Travel Tips and Inspiration from the San Diego Travel & Adventure Show

The Travel & Adventure Show is a series of travel shows in seven cities across the United States, with San Diego being the newest addition. We attended the inaugural San Diego Travel & Adventure Show and got to listen to some inspirational travel speakers including Samantha Brown, Patricia Schultz, and Jorge Meraz. There were also a number of booths with representatives from tourism boards and tour companies, plus some fun activities like a rock climbing wall and a Segway course.

Samantha Brown San Diego Travel & Adventure Show

Samantha Brown’s “How to Travel Better”

My favorite speaker of the weekend was Samantha Brown, the girl with the best job in the world.  I was very excited to learn that she will be coming back to the Travel Channel with a new travel show.  Samantha Brown shared her tips on how to make travel count.

Don’t Spend All Your Time In The Past

I will confess I can be guilty of this.  Sometimes when you’re visiting a truly historic destination, it can be hard not to spend all your time visiting castles, churches, and museums.  Samantha Brown found her love for travel in Latin America where she learned there was more than just historic attractions.  It was in Latin America where she learned to be in the moment.

Go For A Walk

So I’m kind of tired of the phrase “get lost in the back streets.”  But I loved Samantha Brown’s take on a similar concept.  She said, “go down streets you think look good.”  When you go down those streets, that’s when you can be part of the everyday life and have those “I am here” moments. 

Never In The Must Sees, Always In The Mundane

Similar to the “don’t spend all your time in the past" concept, the real feel of a place won’t be found in the must see attractions.  It will always be found in the mundane activities of taking public transportation, having a coffee in a café, or a drink in a local bar.

Create A Ritual

Samantha Brown San Diego Travel & Adventure Show
Samantha Brown demonstrating picking the nose 
of a Mount Rushmore president for a photo 
as suggested by a park ranger. The point? Have fun!
Samantha Brown spoke of how important it is to create a ritual while traveling.  It doesn’t have to be a big, time-consuming ritual.  It can be small, like taking a walk in the morning, or having breakfast at the same patisserie.  The reason for the ritual resonated with me.  Creating a ritual allows you to take a break from the obsessive thinking that comes from travel.

Talk To The Locals

Samantha Brown shared that she was fearful about not being able to communicate while traveling when she first started.  But she learned that simply learning the phrases hello, please, and thank you in the local language and using them politely and with a smile went a long way with communicating to the locals that she was not from there, she was kind, and she was making an effort.  Most locals will be eager to help and share their country if you provide a little bit of effort.

Crossing South with Jorge Meraz: You’ve Never Seen This Mexico Before

Jorge Meraz Crossing South San Diego Travel & Adventure Show
Jorge Meraz explaining the proper
way to order a street taco.
Jorge Meraz hosts and directs a fun show on KPBS San Diego called Crossing South, which features destinations and experiences in Baja California.  In David Letterman style, he shared his Top Ten List of Baja experiences:

10.     Eating lobster in Puerto Nuevo
9.       Feeding the animals at the Mexicali Zoo
8.       Snorkeling with whale sharks
7.       Visiting the wine country of the Guadalupe Valley
6.       Eating Baja seafood
5.       Eating Chinese food in Mexicali (now I’m intrigued)
4.       Visiting the TJ Beer microbrewery
3.       Visiting the Parque Nacional Las Canadas del Teide, a UNESCO 
          World Heritage Site
2.       Horseback riding and wine tasting
1.       Whale petting in Guerrero Negro

1,000 Places to See Before You Die with Patricia Schultz

Patricia Schulta 1,000 Places to See Before You Die San Diego Travel & Adventure Show
Patricia Schultz discussing Venice.
Patricia Schultz shared some of her favorite destinations.  She started her talk with an inspirational quote, “Better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times.”  While many of the attendees of the San Diego Travel & Adventure Show had traveled both within the United States and internationally in the previous year, that is not the norm.  She urged that if you want to travel, just put it on the calendar.  This is the very first important step to ensuring that your travel dreams become a reality. If it’s on your calendar for a specific date, you are more likely to take the steps to take that trip then if you just think someday you would like to go somewhere.  Patricia Schultz encouraged travelers to not only visit the major cities, but to also visit the secondary and tertiary cities of a country, as those are where you will really get to know the country.  I identify with this sentiment, as we usually visit a few cities in one country on during our travels rather than country hopping from one major city to the next.

Focus Speakers and Booths

The big name speakers spoke in the Travel Channel Theater, but there were also speakers who focused on a specific destination or subject at the Destination Theater.  A fellow blogger, Angel Castellanos of Angels Travel Lounge, shared some great travel skills tips.  My favorite tip for men was to buy a bunch of asparagus or broccoli from the grocery store, take that fat blue rubber band and wrap it around the wallet which you carry in your back pocket.  Romeo’s wallet is a very smooth leather and is constantly slipping out of his back pocket.  When pickpockets strike, they will actually push a wallet out of the back pocket by pushing it up from the bottom.  The thick rubber band around the wallet provides extra traction that keeps it from easily slipping out.  He also introduced us to Exofficio products, including men’s boxers, which are treated to eliminate bacteria and are highly breathable and quick-drying so theoretically only two pairs need to be packed for an entire trip.  We immediately went to the A16 Outfitters booth and purchased a pair.  Romeo will be testing them out.  The amount of packing room they will save if he no longer has to pack 14 pairs of boxers is mind boggling!

We attended both days of the show and spent the entire second day visiting travel booths and loading up on literature.  There were a number of representatives from all over California, including Catalina, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Palm Springs, Yosemite, and Tri-Valley.  Farther off places represented included Alaska, Mexico, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Ethiopia, and South Africa.

The Travel & Adventure Shows are currently held in Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia.  Be sure to plan on visiting the next one near you or, better yet, come out for the next San Diego Travel & Adventure Show in February 2015.  We want to make sure they continue coming to our city!  Visit the Travel & Adventure Show’s website for more information and upcoming dates.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Exploring the Slovenian Countryside

Lake Bled Slovenia
Lake Bled's Otok island.
Slovenia’s beauty is found not so much in its cities, but in its green countryside.  Slovenia has so many beautiful natural wonders, including a lake with an island church, a gorge with blue waters running through, enormous caves with dazzling rock formations, a castle built into the side of a mountain, and the gorgeous Julian Alps.  All of Slovenia’s countryside attractions can easily be visited in a series of road trips.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Why I Want To Go On An Eight-Day Emerald Waterways River Cruise Through Europe

Dürnstein Emerald Waterways
Dürnstein | Photo Courtesy Emerald Waterways
Remember when I shared how much I want to take a river cruise?  Sadly that wasn't a contest I won, so here I am with a European river cruise still on my travel wish list.  Lo and behold, Johnny Jet is running another blogger contest, this time with Emerald Waterways, and the prize is an eight-day European river cruise for two.  I might be a glutton for punishment, but here I go again in hopes I will finally be able to take that European river cruise of my dreams. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Ljubljana: Touring Slovenia’s Capital City

Triple Bridge Ljubljana Slovenia
Ljubljana's Triple Bridge at night.
Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, has all the makings of a picturesque European town.  There’s a castle on the hill, a river winding through the city crossed by arched bridges, and colorful art nouveau buildings surrounding open squares.  While Ljubljana is a capital city, the Old Town feels very small and can be explored in a day.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Chihuly After Dark at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden

Dale Chihuly Blue Flori Sun Desert Botanical Garden Phoenix Arizona
Dale Chihuly, Blue Flori Sun
Dale Chihuly is an American glass artist, trained in the United States and Italy, who makes incredibly intricate and colorful blown glass sculptures.  His work can be seen in over 200 museums worldwide.  I first encountered Chihuly’s work in London at the Victoria & Albert Museum and have since seen it elsewhere, including the University of Wisconsin where he participated in their glass program, the first in the country.  He has created a number of exhibitions within botanical gardens including the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona.